Sunday, September 23, 2007

Just another typical day at church...






So, I preached today. And it went well. I enjoyed the service, the singing and dancing was amazing. It was pure Africa and I loved it! But, to say just that would not be giving you the full picture. And I want to tell you about it. It was quite the story, actually. It started off when we met Pastor Mwale at his church at Chaisa Church of God. I thought I was just going to meet Pastor Sakala, the pastor at the church where I would be preaching at. But, instead we went into Pastor Mwale's house where he proceeded to give each of us Coke and a big bottle of water. Now, mind you I already had to go to the bathroom, and so I refused, because I knew that where I was going had no toilet. But, the girls didn't seem to reason the same, and their eyes lit up when the saw the coke. We don't usually give our kids soda beverages, let alone caffeinated beverages, but our girls certainly did not want to refuse the hospitality of this kind pastor. Julia downed hers like it was going out of style, with Kamryn and Julia close on her heels. I looked at Stephanie and just smiled. She smiled back. We finished our beverages and onto the church we went. I couldn't wait to see what would happen about 20 minutes into a 2+ hours church service where they had one outhouse, or at least I assumed. I was bit out of sorts having a whole bunch of black little kids watching our every move as we were leaving this house. The walk from the house to the car was about 5 minutes, and I felt very self-conscious getting into this big land cruiser to take our family, this pastor and another man to this church. On the way to the car, we had to cross a little steam. I am not sure it was a stream of water. Well, it was water and a lot more as the stench was unbelievable and I saw these two little boys. One was holding a bag and the other was scooping water out of the stream into this bag. So we are more or less being paraded to our car, and yet the sensory overwhelmingness was well, overwhelming. So, being out of it, I got into my car, turned left and I started to drive on the right side of the street and quickly realized it when another car started coming right at me. I corrected myself, chuckled awkwardly and drove to the church. We got to this church, after driving through this dirt road compound, turning through tight roads, through brush and into the area where I was supposed to park, which had this clothes line hanging right through it. So they quickly got the clothes line down, and I parked in this little area. I just can't quite describe to you what it feels like to be the only white person driving up as the only person who has a car into this tiny little area, as the entire village seems to be watching... We were escorted into this church, this tiny enclosure really, held together literally by plastic. The entire church of all Africans were already there as we walked through the front to sit down on these couches. Yep. Here we are. They started to worship and it was amazing. They dance and sing, and yell and whistle and pray and sing a loud song to the Lord. The choir sang and it was so good. It was Africa through and through. About 30 minutes in, yep, you guessed it, Kamryn had to go to the bathroom. So, I took her to the outhouse, moved aside the black plastic tarp and she literally shrieked and fell back as if a cobra were standing there waiting to bite her. The other option was to use the little potty in our car, but there were two boys standing watch over our car. Hmmm... I pulled Kamryn aside and told her the options. One, go in the outhouse or go in the car where people can see you. She chose the car, and so in the 150 degrees car, she well, goes to the bathroom. What do you do? We went back into the church after finishing, and more singing and more worship and testimonies. There was a few minutes where I wrote Stephanie a note saying now would be a good time to take the other girls who are still just in this shell shock experiencing this church. She begins to get up when the pastor leans over to me and asks if Stephanie would like to sing. I said yes, and it was the weird moment where she was getting up to go to the bathroom when I lean over and say they want you to sing, and so she was like uh sure, I'll sing. So, she did. She got up and sang Amazing Grace and it was beautiful. And then she went to the bathroom. The sermon went good, I think. It is crazy trying to use a translator. But he was good and it went well. They gave us a gift, some amazing paintings and some note cards. During the pastors announcements, Julia began to melt down. Bradyn had a hard time, being hot and all, fighting over the frozen juice bottle with Julia. Kamryn did great. So Stephanie took Julia outside. While outside, Stephanie saw this man in a blue shirt with some African kids. Apparently, whenever a kid was getting out of line, he would grab the kid and take them outside and give them a little whack on the leg and give them a time out... No Sunday school here... Just learn to sit with the big people. So, we get our gift, and we are supposed to go out and be greeted but Stephanie is with a falling apart Julia. She comes in and we walk out, and the entire church comes out to greet us, one by one. The church was about 70, so it really wasn't that big of a deal, and it was really cool. By now Julia is in this sugar/caffeine crash hysterically crying "I miss Bobo!" over and over again. I think it is supposed to be a time of greeting and what not, but we really need to get Julia out of there and the kids for that matter, as it is around 95 degrees. But, our car is right smack in the middle of the greeting area. So, I feel horrible having to leave so suddenly, our car, the only ones in that group who has a car, trying to back out in a car that is 100 degrees and drive over bumpy roads with potty, well, in the potty. Aughhh! It was about as uncomfortable as one can get. I got back on the main road only to, well you guessed it, drive again, on the right side. The pastor corrected me this time... We made it back, where we were supposed to go back to the church and go up front and get another gift. With Julia in the back crying, "I miss Bobo! I miss Bobo!" we decided to just not go back down there, and the pastor came running back up to us, crossing the stream to give us this gift. We said thank you and goodbye and we were on our way. We enjoyed "I miss Bobo" all the way home. We actually got it on video just so we could remember the moment. I think from now church will just be boring without all these adventures...

5 comments:

Deborah said...

I can't even imagine the sensory and emotional overload your family is experiencing. Eventually it will all seem normal. In the meantime, we'll pray!
Blessings,
Deborah

Anonymous said...

Sounds like it was worth squeezing the potty into one of the 18 suitcases. You did well to i.d. the priorities ahead of time.

My love,

Louise

Team Turner said...

Props to Kamryn for picking the car, audience and all - good call Kamryn!

Thank you Jesus for hard-wiring us with the capacity to laugh when the only other option ...well you know.

You inspire us Allens to trust the great Lion with greater heart!

The Youth Pastor's Fam said...

We admire you guys and are praying for you. We had church today. I (Mark) had to teach or had a meeting in all 3 services so I didn't go to service...how out of the ordinary! May God bless you as you empty yourselves...we can't imagine.

Dana said...

wow what an adventure!! I am praying for you guys. :-)